Triple Matching R-Series: 1967 BMW R50/2

BMW’s R50 motorcycle is a timeless design, seemingly trapped between eras as a wartime machine and one of the predominant grand touring bikes of the 1950s. Its long production span certainly contributed to that, stretching from 1955 to 1969. The R50 was powered by an air-cooled, two-cylinder boxer motor, pushing out  a roaring 26 horsepower. The example seen here is said to the sort of mechanical fortitude that would ensure every one of those ponies is still at the rider’s disposal, but it also helps the seller has done a bang-up job of getting this R50/2 up to snuff. The seller notes it is a desirable triple matching numbers example and remains highly original throughout. Find it here on eBay with bidding approaching $10K and the reserve unmet.

The seller notes the BMW was found as part of a stash of motorcycles, locked away for 20 years in Storrs, Connecticut. He doesn’t say whether bike ran or not, but with the oil, transmission, and final drive fluid changed (among other fixes), it now hums nicely, and the listing claims this is the strongest running of the collection the seller discovered in 2018. He himself has used the bike fairly often, racking up 2,500 miles after getting it sorted out and never being stranded once by the bike due to mechanical fault. The fuel lines have been replaced, the carburetor rebuilt, and the brakes serviced, making this desirable R50/2 downright turnkey for the next owner.

The other improvements made by the seller are extensive, but done in such a way so as not to distort the high degree of originality on display. They include a new sidestand; a new set of German-made Heidenau K tires with new tubes on factory rims; new mufflers and headers; new tool box lock and key; new handlebar mirror; new MAGURA handlebar; and new stainless risers from Germany. The list goes on and on, reflecting both cosmetic and mechanical fixes performed by the seller, but nothing so drastic that you’d call this bike restored. The seller also claims to have gone over the bike with a fine-toothed comb, tightening up every nut and bolt on the bike, adjusted the front brakes, and ensured all lights and wiring were functional.

While I do like BMW motorcycles of this era, I’ve been gravitating more towards the road bikes of my youth, so think the K1100 or uber-rare K1. However, there’s something to be said for piloting a motorcycle in perhaps its purest form. These bikes were still capable of reaching almost 90 miles per hour, so it will certainly keep up with modern traffic. The seller has held off from overdoing any cosmetic sorting, limiting his efforts to installing a used Dover White tank and fender from their stash of spares, ensuring they didn’t disturb the original patina of the remaining other painted surfaces. It certainly seems like the type of seller you want to buy a vintage bike from, but we’ll have to see if the reserve is cleared by this afternoon when the auction closes.


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  1. John

    Exactly what is “ triple matching?” The engine number and the frame number should match if it’s original. What’s the third- the stamped plate on the steering head? A ridiculous attempt to try and raise the price, IMO. If I’m mistaken about the numbers please enlighten me…

    Like 2
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’ve never been a real big fan of Beemers but I’ve always been fascinated by their design. I’ve worked on them for others but I only rode one (a 750) for the first time a year ago. No powerhouse but it was steady. Quite enjoyed it. This one would do well at my place. But my cousin has about 20 Beemers at his place so maybe he could use one more. I might add that he doesn’t have a 500–yet…

    Like 2
  3. unclemymy Member

    Having started riding motorcycles at 10 years old, and adding 50 years including mechanical trades, manufacturing, and engineering, I have to admire this awesome piece of machinery. Horizontally opposed, with separate cylinders, four-stroke, drive shaft, practical mechanical layout – what’s not to love? I would tune and tweak and polish and tinker with it til I died. Unfortunately, too close to the latter to part with the not unreasonable 10K.

    Like 6
  4. Howard A Member

    I like all bikes. BMW is certainly the oddest example, but without question, the best machines made. I can’t get past the handling quirks, or the styling but I know a well engineered machine when I see one. Kind of funny, while state of the art then, today, my DRZ 400 single puts out almost double the horse this does, however, for a ride longer than an hour, I’ll take this anyday over a dual sport. I’m finding out, a dual sport motorcycle does neither job well. Dirt bikes, while fun, make poor road bikes, and visa versa.

    Like 5
    • Chuck

      A dirt bike with lights that is street legal was called an Enduro, and your right, they didn’t handle well on the street with knobby tires! They were really popular in the ’60’s & 70’s, when you could only afford one bike, and wanted to be a weekend trail rider.

  5. MBorst

    My Uncle had 2 BMW bikes back in the late 60’s . I was too young to ride then back then. Fast forward. I was at a neighbors removing a bat and there sat an old BMW in mint condition ! Tucked away in their garage. Her husband bought it ride it home and parked it ! I asked if it was for sale, at that time she told me no. That was about 10 years ago. 😥 And for John complaining about triple matching numbers. All items are worth what someone is willing to pay. Beany babies brought a hefty price when the economy was great, and I could have retired off my ball card collection my mom thru away !

    Like 1
  6. Chuck

    Back when this bike was built, that seat would have fit my behind fine. However, 53 years later, that seat hasn’t grown any bigger, however my bottom has! There ain’t no way I’d ever be comfortable riding more than a block on it! Wedgie time!! (;-) Can anyone else relate to this???

  7. Steve RM

    I don’t know for sure but I think triple matching numbers mean the numbers are the same on the frame, engine, and transmission.

    Like 2
    • John

      Again, I may be wrong, but I don’t think BMWs have numbers on the transmission. I’ve had two pre- 55s and two late 60’s US models.
      500cc/ 2s are slow. 600cc /2s are a little stronger, and R69Ss are fun when they come on the cam.

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